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Ballet West Scotland - Swan Lake


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This company is amazing!

Sara Maria as Odette/Odile was breathtaking. Not many principle dancers bring tears to my eyes but Sara Maria did. The contrast between vulnerable Odette and then the evil seductress of Odile was spot on.

Jonathon's prince was captivating and well performed in every way.

Last but not least the students were stunning!!! its hard to believe they are still in training.

Such a professional company.

Rumour is they may come south. Will watch again if they do!!!!

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I am so glad you like Ballet West.  I am also a fan.   I saw their Nutcracker at Pitlovhry this time last year and was very impressed. They were certainly worth the trek from Yorkshire.

 

I shall be in the audience when they return to Pitlochry next Saturday evening.

 

They are located in the most idyllic spot bit far from Loch Etive, I explored the countryside near Taynuilt while waiting for a ferry to Craignure last summer. That possibly explains why the school has had so many successes including a Genee medallist this year.

 

I urged them to come to England last year because I think we would take the company to our hearts.

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Your so lucky to see then at Pitlochry.

 

.....................

 

It is worth returning to Pitlochry for the theatre festival between Spring and Autumn. I spend at least a week of my holidays there every year. It is one of my favourite theatres now that the poor, dear Byre is dark. The others are the Open Air in Regents Park and the Stephen Joseph in Scarborough.

 

I am negotiating with my clerk time off to take one of Tours en L'air's overseas ballet trips every year.

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Your so lucky to see then at Pitlochry.

 

Nearly got a train from Kings X direct to see them but have to work:(

 

Enjoy Terpsichore!

 

Imagine studying ballet in such a beautiful place!! I'd definitely have to put it on my list of places to study in.......if only could turn the clock back now!! :)

 

I have just returned from a very long and tiring drive to Pitlochry where I spent a pleasant weekend. One of the delights was a trip to the Festival Theatre where I saw Ballet West perform Swan Lake.  Here are extracts from my review:

 

"I enjoyed that performance very much. In watching Ballet West, a reviewer has to bear in mind that it is primarily a school. Consequently the main roles have to be danced by its teachers, Jonathan Barton and Sara-Maria Smith, and most of the other roles are performed by students some of whom seem to be quite young. The troupe has to dance to recorded music which limits the opportunities for acknowledging applause and makes no allowances for the the styles and capabilities of individual dancers. Similarly. the small stages of some of the auditoriums will limit the scenery and props that can be used. Also audiences must vary considerably. Last year the company danced to a rather larger and more appreciative audience at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre. On Saturday the house was much less full, there was applause in a number of wrong places, silence where applause would have been justified and even some pantomime style booing (thankfully drowned out by cheers) when Rothbart took his bow even though Isaac Bowry had danced that role very well. When all those factors are taken into consideration it was a very good evening indeed.

 

Swan Lake is quite a long ballet and demands much from the principals especially in the third act when Siegried is deceived by Odile. In particular, there are Legnani's 32 fouettés which is the probably the best known part of the choreography.  They require considerable stamina, concentration and skill and not every dancer is up to the test. When that test came I was counting and I am glad to report that Smith passed with flying colours. I should add that Barton danced his part of that pas de deux with equal virtuosity.

 

Another good strong male dancer was Andrew Cook who danced the pas de trois in Act 1 impressively with Daniella Brown and Helen Foskett. He seemed somewhat more mature than the other dancers and I have been scouring the programme and googling his name (so far unsuccessfully) for some background information.  Brown and Foskett also danced well and they appeared again with Ally Barnes and Yolanda Magashi as the little swans, another difficulty bit of choreography which they performed successfully. Other female dancers who particularly impressed me were Claire Rice and Hannah Fowler. I liked Rice's part in the mazurka very much. Another divertissement that I enjoyed was the Neapolitan dance which was danced by Duncan Saul (a guest artist) and Yolanda Magashi.  In the 1970s that role was danced by Wayne Sleep, The Neapolitan dance was a great favourite of the crowds and it was probably the foundation of his career.  Saul's performance reminded me a little of Sleep's all those years ago.  But my favourite dancer this year as last was Isaac Bowry who danced Rothbart. A very talented young man showing promise as a character artist I shall follow his career with considerable interest.  Although I have singled out a few names I must stress that all danced well and I commend them all."

 

The next Swan Lake I shall see will be Matthew Bourne's for which it is good to have the conventional version in mind.

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I have just returned from a very long and tiring drive to Pitlochry where I spent a pleasant weekend. One of the delights was a trip to the Festival Theatre where I saw Ballet West perform Swan Lake. Here are extracts from my review:

 

"I enjoyed that performance very much. In watching Ballet West, a reviewer has to bear in mind that it is primarily a school. Consequently the main roles have to be danced by its teachers, Jonathan Barton and Sara-Maria Smith, and most of the other roles are performed by students some of whom seem to be quite young. The troupe has to dance to recorded music which limits the opportunities for acknowledging applause and makes no allowances for the the styles and capabilities of individual dancers. Similarly. the small stages of some of the auditoriums will limit the scenery and props that can be used. Also audiences must vary considerably. Last year the company danced to a rather larger and more appreciative audience at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre. On Saturday the house was much less full, there was applause in a number of wrong places, silence where applause would have been justified and even some pantomime style booing (thankfully drowned out by cheers) when Rothbart took his bow even though Isaac Bowry had danced that role very well. When all those factors are taken into consideration it was a very good evening indeed.

 

Swan Lake is quite a long ballet and demands much from the principals especially in the third act when Siegried is deceived by Odile. In particular, there are Legnani's 32 fouettés which is the probably the best known part of the choreography. They require considerable stamina, concentration and skill and not every dancer is up to the test. When that test came I was counting and I am glad to report that Smith passed with flying colours. I should add that Barton danced his part of that pas de deux with equal virtuosity.

 

Another good strong male dancer was Andrew Cook who danced the pas de trois in Act 1 impressively with Daniella Brown and Helen Foskett. He seemed somewhat more mature than the other dancers and I have been scouring the programme and googling his name (so far unsuccessfully) for some background information. Brown and Foskett also danced well and they appeared again with Ally Barnes and Yolanda Magashi as the little swans, another difficulty bit of choreography which they performed successfully. Other female dancers who particularly impressed me were Claire Rice and Hannah Fowler. I liked Rice's part in the mazurka very much. Another divertissement that I enjoyed was the Neapolitan dance which was danced by Duncan Saul (a guest artist) and Yolanda Magashi. In the 1970s that role was danced by Wayne Sleep, The Neapolitan dance was a great favourite of the crowds and it was probably the foundation of his career. Saul's performance reminded me a little of Sleep's all those years ago. But my favourite dancer this year as last was Isaac Bowry who danced Rothbart. A very talented young man showing promise as a character artist I shall follow his career with considerable interest. Although I have singled out a few names I must stress that all danced well and I commend them all."

 

The next Swan Lake I shall see will be Matthew Bourne's for which it is good to have the conventional version in mind.

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I loved reading your review and was so excited to see you mention my daughter Daniella Brown she has only been training with BW since last September. It's amazing in how such a short time that she has improved and thrived we are really excited as this is only the beginning xxx

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I loved reading your review and was so excited to see you mention my daughter Daniella Brown she has only been training with BW since last September. It's amazing in how such a short time that she has improved and thrived we are really excited as this is only the beginning xxx

 

I am so glad that you liked my review tracieanne01. Your daughter danced very well and I hope to see her on the stage again.

 

I am glad also that you have found and contributed to the discussion on education at Ballet West. Several parents have expressed understandable anxieties about the school's location at Taynuilt and fear that their children may become bored or lonely. I think anyone who has actually visits the village will be reassured to find that there are plenty of local activities including a delightful eatery called "The Robin's Nest". Moreover Oban which is only a short bus or train ride away has plenty of attractions including a cinema and the Corran Halls a concert and theatre complex where Ballet West occasionally dances. There are in Oban quite enough bright lights for a serious student of any discipline. I went to school in West Kensington just opposite the Royal Ballet School at Barons Court and I know where I would have preferred to have spent my teenage years.

 

 I have made small donations to Ballet West as well as other ballet schools and I intend to continue to do so as and when my resources allow.

 

Finally, I see that you have recently joined BalletcoForum.  I should like to add my welcome to those that I am sure you have received or will receive from the management and other members. You will find that many folk here use abbreviations to designate their children. They refer to their daughters as their "DD" - which always throws me because that is the abbreviation for "Defendants" in my circles. Similarly they refer to their sons as "DS" and children as "DC" respectively which are lawyers' abbreviations for "Detective Sergeant" and "Detective Constable".  I wish Daniella Brown every success in her studies and subsequent career.

Edited by terpsichore
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Have only just seen this.

Is the dancer in this clip Sara Maria? She is very good indeed I must say....a beautiful dancer.

 

Is Ballet West the Company based in the same location as the school is?

 

The students looked really very professional too. Also how many shows do they tour each year?

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...............

Is the dancer in this clip Sara Maria? She is very good indeed I must say....a beautiful dancer.

 

Is Ballet West the Company based in the same location as the school is?

 

The students looked really very professional too. Also how many shows do they tour each year?

 

Yes. She is one of the instructors at the school. I think Smith is her married name. Someone told me that she is Jonathan Barton's sister but I may have misheard or misunderstood the conversation.

 

The company consists mainly of students. The principal roles are danced by Smith and Barton.

 

They tour Scotland in the first quarter of every year. I have watched (and reviewed) The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

 

I also support them with small donations through their website which I would not do if they were not good,

Edited by terpsichore
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